Not only has COVID impacted the health of millions of people globally, but the effect it had on schools is also frightening. Students and teachers alike have been plunged into a complete unknown of online learning and there is no definitive knowledge of when anything will “get back to normal”. Right now, the only norm any educator knows is an online portal and, perhaps, a school management software in mind for when they do reopen.
With autumn approaching, teachers are getting ready to take on the next phase of this post COVID teaching battle, while students prepare for more uncertainty in their school careers. But what is that going to look like? Below we discuss a few of the main issues that many teachers are currently experiencing and thinking about as school resumes for many, in one way or another.
Getting Left Behind
One of the biggest challenges with online learning is the lack of human contact. The time spent with a teacher, going through questions and having them explained, was so often taken for granted before the pandemic hit.
Many students have been experiencing a multitude of struggles; from anxiety issues to difficulty with technology. When you consider those with learning disabilities too, who physically need a teacher present, you can understand how many layers are involved here.
It is because of these struggles that many students will fall behind and there are limited ways in which teachers can help.
Many teachers often become a second caregiver or type of parental figure for students who come to view school as a place they can escape less than ideal home circumstances. The restricted options for helping students face-to-face is a difficult reality to overcome. No teacher wants to see their students fall behind the rest, and this will mean adapted ways of checking in with students and ensuring they know they are still supported, even virtually.
A Completely New Learning Environment
The results of a worldwide pandemic have altered the way education is delivered, however, the education system was well on its way to integrating new learning methods. This was just accelerated by COVID-19.
As the world becomes digitised and more businesses turn to the online landscape for growth, educational institutions are destined to follow suit.
While COVID has undoubtedly enforced this on a drastic level, teachers and students are likely to see a big shift in their schooling experience.
Restricted Learning And Enforced Barriers
It is going to be challenging when entering a school and having to maintain a constant distance with other teachers and the students. Though, it is absolutely necessary.
As teachers who are so used to interacting with students on a daily basis, keeping a set space between them will clearly be something to get used to.
Particularly for those teachers who have close connections with their students and will often sit with them during after-school extra lessons, the kind of close-contact that this requires will become a thing of the past.
It is important for students and teachers to get used to this new distance-learning environment as quickly as possible. Regardless of how everyone adapted to virtual learning, being physically present but physically restricted too will be a whole new test.
Being A Parent And A Teacher
Another challenge that many educators will face will be their role of parent and teacher. There will be a fear of going home at the end of a school day and then joining the family in close contact, after being surrounded by many students throughout the day. Irrespective of how many safety precautions taken at a school, there is always the possibility of students carrying COVID from their own environments and, unknowingly, spreading it to other students and teachers. This is something many educators and school districts will have to monitor on an ongoing basis to make the right type of regulations to protect everyone.
Implementing Every Safety Measure Possible
It is vital that schools take every safety measure into account and implement each one thoroughly. By using school management systems, organising designated seating areas, monitoring students’ movements, and recording any symptoms will be made much easier to organise.
Every single teacher will have hurdles to jump over and face-to-face teaching will not be the same as it once was.
This new COVID world brings about its own unique challenges, but when handled strictly and appropriately, it could be a chance for schools, teachers, and students to thrive unlike ever before.